All-American Co-Ed (1941)

All-American Co-Ed (1941)

This B Musical Comedy was produced and directed by three time Academy Award nominee for Dance Direction LeRoy Prinz and earned songwriter Lloyd Norlin his only Academy Award nomination for his song “Out of the Silence”; Edward Ward’s Score was also Oscar nominated. Like many of these sub-hour Hal Roach Studios productions its original story (by Prinz and Hal Roach Jr. adapted by Kenneth Higgins; Cortland Fitzsimmons wrote the screenplay) is pretty lame.

To generate publicity an all girls agricultural college Mar Brynn (vs. Katharine Hepburn‘s alma mater Bryn Mawr) insults a local university and its Zeta fraternity that puts on all male revues (e.g. guys dressed as gals) while offering twelve scholarships hoping to attract some new more beautiful students. Esther Dale plays the college’s president while Harry Langdon plays her bespeckled nephew the dean; top billed Frances Langford seems out of place except to sing as one of the school’s student officials.

Of course the Zeta brothers decide to enter one of their own in the scholarship sweepstakes and naturally he’s chosen; Johnny Downs plays Bob Sheppard who pretends to be “Miss Flowers” Bobbie DeWolfe. Predictably he falls for Langford’s character and there are several contrived situations whereby he must hide his true identity along the way. Also appearing are Noah Beery Jr. and Alan Hale Jr. as local hayseed members of the fraternity that are sent to assist compel Bob to continue the charade after he’s told his brothers by phone that he’s fallen in love. Their characters provide slapstick comic relief while Langford and the other co-eds (which include the Tanner Sisters Trio) sing and dance. Also appearing onscreen in one of his only credited roles is voice “talent” Kent Rogers (as one of the frat boys) who does some of the worst impressions (Gary Cooper James Cagney and others) ever heard by this reviewer.

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